But looking at it again, I'm convinced it's a hoax. And you should be, too. Here are a few obvious telltales:
Typos and grammatical errors
Companies put a lot of effort into their online presence, and any sufficiently large organization (like ASUS) has a change control process for any web pages that get posted. One obvious step in that process is spell-checking and proofreading. Yet the "Asus.co.uk" web page is littered with typos and grammatical errors:
- With the Eee PC™ 1008HA, you don't have to put up with a cramped, uncomfortable keys — its keyboard is 92% full-size with wide, well-spaced keys. The large Backspace, Enter and right Shift keys help reduce finger fatigue to a minimum, too.
- Enjoy superb video conferencing experience on the move with bright 10” display, built‐in 1.3 megapixel webcam and Digital Array MIC, which enhances speech‐centric applications like Skype and even your podcast recording.
- With its 160GB hard disk drive, the Eee PC™ 1008HA provides ample storage for all of your documents, images and multimedia files; 10GB of free online storage wiath 5GB of downloads per day means you can keep your data within easy reach from any computer.
- Super Hybrid Engine (SHE) enhances energy efficiency and reducespower usage by up to 15%*, delivering up to 6 hours*of unplugged usage.
- ASUSTek (UK) Ltd. © 2009 All rights Reserves
If a company is going to use ® or ™ in their copy, they will be consistent about it. But check the "Asus.co.uk" page again, and you'll see that sometimes "Eee PC™" is written "Eee PC" (without the ™ mark.) Check the top paragraph, and the date reminder.
Look closely at the "It's better with Windows" paragraph, and you'll see more examples of this:
The Eee PC™ 1008HA comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows XP Home and Microsoft Works. With Windows® XP, you can be sure that your Eee PC™ will be compatible with your existing Windows applications and devices. Windows® XP is also easy to use and delivers a dependable experience that Microsoft and a worldwide community of partners stand behind. Visit www.ItsBetterwithWindows.com » to find out more.Incorrect copyright
The "Asus.co.uk" page says "ASUSTek (UK) Ltd. © 2009 All rights Reserves". But check the actual ASUS UK page, and you'll see consistent use of "© ASUSTek Computer Inc. All Rights Reserved."
Missing branding and links
Take a quick look at the "It's Better With Windows" page. Where are the links to Microsoft.com? Where are the other references to Microsoft? For that matter, there are no references at all to Microsoft. Trust me, if marketers at Microsoft had been involved in this campaign, the name "Microsoft" would show up dozens of times, and there would be plenty of links back to Microsoft.com.
Poor web design
Microsoft may turn out a shitty desktop experience, but at least their web folks know something about web design. For example, they know enough to put together a web site that doesn't consist solely of a single JPEG background image, and an embedded video. All that text on the page? It's all part of a single image.
Microsoft doesn't own the page
This should have been the first and easiest way to tell that the "It's Better With Windows" site is a fake. Open up the page, and view the html source code. You don't have to understand html to see a few imporant clues:
- The video file links to collaborationpeople.cdnetworks.us instead of Microsoft.com. CD Networks is a content delivery company, so that's why the file is hosted at their domain. Clearly, "collaborationpeople" is the account name that owns the actual video file. But Microsoft also does lots of content delivery. It's guaranteed that if Microsoft put this together, the video asset would be hosted by Microsoft.
- Web statistics are being gathered by google-analytics.com. But Microsoft views Google as one of its biggest competitors in web search engines and marketing. Microsoft would never allow a key competitor to track the web hits of an "important" marketing site such as this.
I'll stop there. The spoofed "Asus.co.uk" page and the fake "It's Better With Windows" site were good attempts at a hoax, and I have to give them credit for putting something together that fooled so many people at first glance. But no, this is a hoax. Nothing to see here, move along.